Domestic carrier Fly 540 (pictured) has been granted a licence to launch international flights in a move that will increase the number of Kenyan airlines flying to the rest of the world.     

This follows a decision by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to grant Fly 540’s application to expand its air services to other African countries and the United Arab Emirates for the next three years. 

“Notice is given that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has made decisions on applications for air service licences whose particulars were previously published in the Kenya Gazette,” said the regulator in a notice yesterday. 

Fly540 will now operate international scheduled air services for passengers, cargo and mail to and from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Wilson Airport. 

The airline will also fly to Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Dubai as well as return to regional routes including Zanzibar and Dar-es-Salam.

KCAA further granted new licences and renewed existing ones for 28 local and regional airlines, in a year most carriers are suffering the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nigeria-based cargo airline Allied Air has also been granted a licence to operate flights between Lagos and Nairobi, with routing flights to JKIA from Cairo, Douala, Luanda, Johannesburg, Bangui, Windoek and Abidjan among others. 

Blocked travel

The aviation sector has been among the hardest hit as countries across the world closed their borders and blocked international travel. 

Last month, national carrier Kenya Airways was forced to backtrack on a plan to resume direct flights to JFK Airport in New York following increased cancellation of flight bookings. 

The airline postponed the move to November 29 but with rising cases of Covid-19 across the world, analysts remain sceptical.

Low-cost carrier Jambojet recently resumed operations to its domestic destinations, including Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu and Malindi from Nairobi.

Although bookings are yet to hit the levels before the pandemic, the airline is banking on increased traffic from domestic tourists during next month’s festive season.

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